Chinese NEV giant NIO reports to police rumors of involvement in Tesla protest
Published: Apr 27, 2021 10:44 PM
A protester standing on a Tesla Model 3 on 2021 Shanghai Auto Show.  Photo: CFP

A protester standing on a Tesla Model 3 on 2021 Shanghai Auto Show. Photo: CFP

Chinese new-energy vehicle (NEV) maker NIO said on Tuesday that it has reported to police the rumor attacks that claim the company was involved in a quality protest against Tesla vehicles at the Shanghai Auto Show.

"NIO has come under a large number of well-organized online rumor attacks that claim or hint that NIO was involved in the protest at the Shanghai automobile fair... NIO has never been involved in or encouraged any third party to participate in the protest actions," the company said in a statement.

NIO has collected evidence and reported it to relevant departments to protect its interests, the statement said.

On April 19, the first day of this year's Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, a Tesla owner surnamed Zhang protested a brake problem by climbing on top of a Tesla vehicle, and a video that recorded the incident soon went viral on Chinese social media, causing anger among Chinese netizens against Tesla.

In another video posted by Zhang, it showed that she was riding in another car early on the morning of April 19 before the auto show, and some netizens believed that the car was a NIO car and suspected that NIO and Qi Jie, the owner of the car that Zhang rode in, were behind the protest, reported.

Zhang said on Tuesday that she arrived in Shanghai on April 18 and rode in a NIO car owned by another Tesla car owner Qi Jie, who owns both Tesla and NIO cars, and Zhang was just a passenger in the NIO car. Zhang said that "the claim that the brand of car that she rode in supported the protest makes no sense," according to 

"NIO user QI Jie has been cited in rumors as being the one who joined the protest against another brand at the auto show, which Qi Jie has issued a statement to clarify," NIO said in the statement, adding that NIO opposes any slander or rumors that harm its users' reputations and will help Qi Jie to safeguard her legitimate rights.

Zhang entered the exhibition hall on April 19 by using a press pass, on which auto parts supplier Webasto's logo was printed, Shangyou News reported.

In response, Webasto said on Tuesday that it provided some passes for media employees for the auto show, which should have been activated by those users, and Webasto and its staff had no link to the protest or the protester.

NIO's partner Webasto is a famous supplier for almost all automakers worldwide. Webasto has issued a statement in response to the rumors, and NIO supports the statement, NIO said.